We Are Family: College Basketball Edition

At the end of the college basketball season Georgetown fired their coach. This was a big deal because their coach was the son of legendary Georgetown coach John Thompson. Before he was fired, several articles were written in the Post about the possibility that he would be fired. Many thought he would get more time because the school didn’t want to upset Big John. Once he was fired and the coaching search started there were articles about who should be the next coach and the concept of “keeping it in the family” came up. In the end, Georgetown did keep it in the family and hired Patrick Ewing. Word is that they tried to hire several non-family coaches and were turned down. Ewing has a lot of experience as an assistant NBA coach, but no college coaching experience. He might be good. He might not. I do wonder if they would have hired a non-family guy with the same experience. Did they hire Ewing because he was the best available after the others said no or did they hire him because of his name?

I’m not a big fan of the “keep it in the family” mindset. I watched(with glee) UNC go through down years because of this. When Dean Smith retired they hired his long time assistant Bill Gutheridge and then Matt Doherty. Everyone knows they wanted Roy Williams back then, but he was not ready to leave Kansas. The problem was that once he was out they were still set on hiring a UNC guy and ended up with mediocrity. A program like UNC should be able to hire almost any coach they want and should hire the best available, not the best UNC guy available. They were fortunate to get Roy Williams after Doherty didn’t work out. Now, both UNC and Duke are getting closer to a time when they will both need to replace a legend. Does UNC still try to keep it in the family? Will Duke go that direction as well? Are there viable family options for them? It will be interesting to see what they do when the time comes. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dadgum Roy retires now that he won another championship.

I am a Kentucky alum and still a big fan of the program. There are many UK fans who are always pushing for a Kentucky guy to be the next coach. The problem is there are no viable options out there for this. None of the Kentucky guys n coaching are at a level to be ready to be the coach of Kentucky basketball. I wish someone like Travis Ford or John Pelphrey had been successful and ready to take over whenever Coach Cal leaves, but they will probably never get there. The closest we have to someone in the “family” as a successful coach is Richard Pitino.  I would be curious to see if he is an option in a few years when we are looking for a new coach. Having Little Ricky as the coach would be interesting. However, as much fun as it would be to have a Kentucky guy ready to take over, I would much rather just hire the best coach available even if he is a Dukie or Little Ricky. I never have understood why others feel otherwise.

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Paying Players and Graduating Coaches

I decided to would write out my thoughts on two stories in college basketball. The idea of paying players and the Masiello situation.

First, Masiello: I am not one of those UK people who have decided they hate Steve Masiello for whatever reason.  I never met Masiello, but I know people have the same dislike for Travis Ford for being a jerk at UK. I did have class with  Travis and found him to be a decent guy. I always assume these people are the ones who bothered the players while they were out and about on campus and decided they were jerks because they didn’t stop what they were doing to chat/sign autographs. I also have no problem with Masiello coaching at Louisville. It makes sense. He is a Pitino guy. Louisville was the right spot for him.  So, that said, on to the resume fiasco.

Was it wrong to say you graduated from UK when you really didn’t? Yes, it was. It was a stupid lie because it is easy to find out the truth. Masiello had been lucky that none of his other employers cared enough to check his graduation status. His luck finally ran out. Do I think the fact that he didn’t graduate makes him unqualified as a coach? No, I don’t. He is a very good coach and the team that gives him a second chance will be lucky to have him. I assume he will go back to finish the degree somewhere (most likely UL where he could be a graduate assistant) and then will get hire on somewhere and will win again. I’m a big believer in second chances and am tired of people hammering him for this. He did something wrong. He can fix it and learn from it. Move on.

Paying Players:

I’m so tired of hearing people talk about paying players. These players are getting a free college education. It will cost over $100,000 for my son to go to college.  I looked up the price to attend Duke. It is over $60,000 per year. That’s $240,000 over four years. If you are an athlete, you get this for free and I’m supposed to feel sorry for you? The problem is, many of them don’t see this as value because they don’t really won’t to be in college. They just want to play basketball for money. Free college education does not seem as good as cold hard cash. They want both. Free education and cash. I think the solution is simple. Get rid of the one and done rule and let players go pro immediately out of high school. If you want cash for play, skip college and go pro. Not good enough for the NBA but still want cash for play? Go to Europe or go play in the NBA D League. Good at basketball but still value a college education? Go to school and play basketball while taking advantage of the extremely valuable compensation of a free college education with the added bonus of a guaranteed job with a booster after your career is over. College sports is about student athletes. Let’s get back to that.

Hypocrisy and the NCAA

Being a graduate of the University of Kentucky and a big fan of college basketball, the NCAA has been on my mind a lot lately. It appears that UK will be forced to vacate all of the team wins from last year because a grade was allegedly changed on Eric Bledsoe’s transcript. The alleged change happened before he was at UK, the NCAA cleared him to play and UK played him. Now, much like the Derrick Rose situation at Memphis, the NCAA comes in and say we made a mistake and we are going to punish you for it. Apparently, the NCAA is in the business of holding other accountable for their mistakes. I think it’s time the NCAA investigates its on ineptitude and hypocrisy.

How many coaches are out there coaching after being found guilty of NCAA infractions while the schools and the student athletes are punished? How the heck is Tim Floyd allowed anywhere near a college basketball team? Why is Dez Bryant banned from playing for lying to the NCAA but it appears that Bruce Pearl will keep his job after doing the same?

There are many questions about the way NCAA does business. It’s time someone makes them answer them.